The Toronto Raptors will meet LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs for the third straight year, with The King's crew winning the previous two matchups.
As you know, LeBron has simply dominated the Eastern Conference, as his teams have reached the NBA Finals in seven consecutive years. This included four times with the Miami Heat (which produced two championships), and three with Cleveland - where they won the 2016 NBA Championship.
The Raptors won 59 games during the regular season, and finished atop the East. They defeated the Washington Wizards in six games, while LeBron's Cavs needed the maximum of seven to finish off the Indiana Pacers.
Toronto knows they have a tough task, and the roster is devoid of championship rings and experience. However, 16-time World Champion Ric 'The Nature Boy' Flair had some advice for Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry and the rest of the team:
Indeed, LeBron James is undoubtedly "The Man" of the NBA. Despite a depleted roster that lost Kyrie Irving in a trade last summer and Kevin Love battling injuries, LeBron carried the Cavaliers on his back and has them in the second round.
The last team to eliminate a LeBron-led team in the Eastern Conference side of the playoffs? That would be the Boston Celtics in 2010, who diminished the Cavaliers in six games. But the Raptors may be more suited than any other team since 2011 to dethrone a James-led team in the East.
Toronto came fairly close to knocking off Cleveland in the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals, but they were eliminated in six games. The Raptors weren't close at all in 2017, getting swept by LeBron and co. in the second round.
But with more depth and no Kyrie Irving to worry about, this Toronto team should hand LeBron more problems than he's accustomed to. Flair told them to "Beat The Man," now it's up to the players to follow through.